Another Water Main Break Snarls Traffic

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Even more traffic tie-ups are anticipated as major work begins in the Ala Moana area this summer. Businesses along Kapiolani Boulevard are worried about the project.

After 72 years, cracks are emerging in the water main beneath Atkinson Drive.

Just one day earlier, a 71-year-old water pipe under Kapiolani Boulevard ruptured. Crews scramble to patch the holes as these workhorses near the end of their lifespan.

"It all boils down to the road needs, the water mains need repairing," Craig Inouye, owner of Quiksilver Boardriders Club on Kapiolani, said. "The sewer needs work."

But that doesn't mean Inouye is looking forward to the $29.2 million water main and sewer line project planned for the area.

The mammoth, two-year project includes water main upgrades along Kapiolani from Ward Avenue to Kalakaua Avenue. Inouye believes the traffic tie-ups will hurt his business.

"I'm very concerned," Inouye said. "I mean, you know, this is our livelihood. I've got a lot of employees, a lot of students that are employed here. And I know they depend on their income."

The project was originally scheduled to begin this month. But the start date has been pushed back to this summer. The Board of Water Supply says a contractor still needs to be selected.

"We cut back some of our purchasing, our projected purchasing," Inouye said. "We've also cut back some of our staffing. The last time they had a project out here, it lasted three months. We had a 30% drop in revenues."

Water Supply officials say they'll try to minimize the impact on businesses by stopping work during peak hours, and during the holiday rush between Thanksgiving and New Year.

"Local people, we tend to avoid anything unpleasant," Inouye said.